A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases

2022–23 Faculty Grant

A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases. Credit: Argha Manna and Lydia Bourouiba.
A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases. Credit: Argha Manna and Lydia Bourouiba.

Critical role of paradigm shifts in science illustrated through respiratory infectious disease transmission

About

Professor Lydia Bourouiba, faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering,  Mechanical Engineering, and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, collaborates with Argha Manna, a cancer researcher turned comics artist from Kolkata, India. They continue their previous work translating the complex science of fluid dynamics of disease transmission into comics. Their joint project, Be Aware of Droplets and Bubbles, was published in Annals of Internal Medicine and featured in JAMA Networks’ “Graphic Medicine—The Best of 2020.” 

As an extension of their ongoing collaboration, A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases aims to clarify confusion about the mechanisms of transmission of airborne pathogens, and more broadly, the importance of crossing boundaries between fundamental physical processes, biology, and physiology, and how the scientific method coupled with advancement of scientific instrumentation has shaped paradigm shifts in science. They leverage visual storytelling using comics to communicate these entangled concepts vital to the public understanding of the advancement of the frontier of human knowledge.

Schedule

Upcoming Events

Panel Discussion: A Paradigm Shift in Infectious Diseases
Spring 2023

Class: Fluids and Diseases 1.063-1.631/HST.537/2.250
Offered Spring 2023

Special topic and course projects on the scientific method, history of epidemics, and paradigm shifts in the context of public health, and through the power of various illustration tools, such as comics.

Collaborators

Lydia Bourouiba founded and directs The Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory at MIT. Her research interests and activities span a broad range of applied mathematics/mathematical physics approaches at the intersection of physics, mathematics, and biology. She leverages curiosity-driven research in fluid dynamics at various scales, biophysics, and mathematical modeling to understand the fundamental physical mechanisms shaping and constraining disease transmission dynamics in human, animal, and plant populations. Recently, her work elucidated the multi-scale dynamics of fluid fragmentation, droplet and bubble dynamics, and complex and multiphase flows with particular focus on the physics and biology that drive mixing, transport, persistence, and adaption of pathogens relevant to contamination and disease outbreaks.

Website: lbourouiba.mit.edu/contact


Argha Manna is a cancer researcher turned comics artist from India. He explores the historical perspectives of scientific development and social issues through the dual lenses of artist and researcher, bridging the gap between academic research and visual storytelling. Working alongside MIT Professor Lydia Bourouiba, Manna is working on translating the complex fluid dynamics of disease transmission and its historical context into comics.The collaboration, which included teaching tools to inform the public about infectious disease transmission, was published in Annals of Internal Medicine.


Website: drawinghistoryofscience.wordpress.com